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Joel Barlow (1754—1812) poet and diplomatist


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Epic poem in heroic couplets by Joel Barlow, was published in 1807 as a revision of his The Vision of Columbus (1787). It is a tedious and turgid work modeled on Milton and influenced by Shenstone and Timothy Dwight.

According to the preface, Barlow's purpose is “to inculcate the love of national liberty, and to discountenance the deleterious passion for violence and war; to show that on the basis of republican principle all good morals, as well as good government and hopes of permanent peace, must be founded.” The poem is concerned with the vision revealed by a “radiant seraph” to Columbus, an old man dying in prison. Columbus sees the future glories of America, and a distant vision of a league of all nations, “assembled to establish the political harmony of mankind.”

Subjects: Literature.

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